Texas takes driving while intoxicated (DWI) charges seriously, and the consequences of a conviction can be significant. You may face jail time, a loss of your driving privileges, fines, and more. The severity of the Texas DWI penalties you face depend on a number of factors, including your age, your blood alcohol content, and other aggravating or mitigating factors.
Texas DWI Penalties for Adults Over the Age of 21
If police test your blood or breath and you are above the legal limit of 0.08 percent, or if you refuse to submit to testing, you will automatically get an Administrative License Revocation (ALR) from the Texas Department of Public Safety. If you do not challenge this within 15 days, it goes into effect on day 40 after your arrest. You will receive an ALR no matter if they file DWI charges against you or not.
In Texas, a first-offense DWI is a Class B misdemeanor. Your penalties could include:
- A fine of up to $2,000
- Jail time of between three days and 180 days
- An additional driver’s license suspension of between 90 days and 365 days
- Mandatory attendance in an Alcohol Awareness Program
- Community service
Under Texas law, the court can offer probation instead of jail time and a driver’s license suspension on the first offense. This is not possible on subsequent offenses.
A second DWI is a Class A misdemeanor, and a conviction could bring:
- A fine of up to $4,000
- Jail time between one month and one year
- An additional driver’s license suspension lasting between 180 days to two years
- Other penalties as the court sees fit
Third or subsequent offenses are felonies of the third degree. These are very serious charges with significant penalties attached. A conviction could mean:
- Fines of up to $10,000
- A prison sentence to two to 10 years
- An additional driver’s license suspension lasting for 180 days to two years
- Other penalties as the court sees fit
Other related crimes include intoxication assault, which is also a felony of the third degree, and intoxication manslaughter, a felony of the second degree. An intoxication manslaughter conviction could call for a two-year license suspension, a $10,000 fine, and a prison term of up to 20 years.
If the victim in your accident was a police officer or first responder, you face second-degree intoxication assault charges and first-degree intoxication manslaughter charges.
For a first-degree felony, you face a two-year license suspension, a $10,000 fine, and up to life in prison.
Truck Drivers Face Additional Penalties
It is also important to note that the legal limit is lower for drivers behind the wheel of a commercial vehicle. Truck drivers only need to test at 0.04 percent to get a DWI. The penalties are the same, although a DWI will lead to the suspension of a commercial driver’s license (CDL). Truck drivers will face a CDL suspension regardless of whether they were driving their truck or their personal vehicle.
Texas DUI Penalties
Texas has a zero-tolerance law, which means teens and minors under 21 can face driving under the influence charges (DUI) if they are found to have any detectable amount of alcohol in their blood.
A first-offense DUI is a Class C misdemeanor. Penalties may include:
- A fine of not more than $500
- 20 to 40 hours of community service
- An additional driver’s license suspension lasting 60-180 days
- Enrollment in an approved Alcohol Awareness Program, sometimes with a parent
A second offense is also a Class C misdemeanor, although the penalties are stiffer. They include:
- A fine of up to $500
- 40 to 60 hours of community service
- An additional driver license suspension lasting 120 days to 2 years
- Enrollment in an approved Alcohol Awareness Program
Teens and minors under the age of 21 also face an ALR after an arrest. Their ALR may last:
- 60 days after the first offense
- 120 days after the second offense
- 180 days after subsequent offenses
Drivers under 21 can also face DWI charges if they have a BAC of .08 or above. The penalties are the same as for a driver over 21.
Talk to a DWI Defense Attorney Today About Your Case
If the police arrested you for a Texas DWI, you do not have to try to navigate the criminal justice system on your own. The Texas DWI defense team from Eddington Worley can review your case and get to work building a strong defense strategy for you today. We will protect your rights and fight for a more favorable outcome in your case.
Call us today at 855-600-6695 to learn more about our services or to get started right away.